Advent 17 (2012)–A Most Holy Moment

Luke 1:35 And the angel answered her,

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.  (ESV)

There are plenty of misunderstandings and much genuine warping of what happened to Mary.  Contrary to what some in a feminist culture wildly assert:

  • this was no instance of divine rape;
  • it was not consensual sex between God and a human being;
  • it was not abusive;
  • it was not degrading to women;
  • it was not the work of Joseph and Mary;
  • and it was not unholy.

Rather, what happened was beautifully holy–exactly what we’d expect from God whose heavenly worshipers are recorded in Scripture as extolling His holiness:

Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” (Revelation 4:8)

A thread of pure holiness runs throughout the angel Gabriel’s short answer.

First, there is the agency of the Holy Spirit whose presence will surround Mary with holiness.  It was the Holy Spirit’s work to perform the miracle known as the Incarnation.  Matthew records it like this:

Matthew 1:18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”–which means, “God with us.” 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Notice how both Mary and Joseph respected the holiness of the situation.  Given the cavalier manner in which American youth treat their sexuality in our present culture, it is worth noting how different things were in Mary and Joseph’s day.  Purity, honor, righteousness, and respectability were considered virtues.

Next, we see that the power exerted by the Most High was holy.  It overshadowed Mary.  The word used here for overshadowing carries the meaning of an enveloping protection.  (This same word is used when speaking of Jesus at the Mount of Transfiguration.  Mark 9:7 Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”–[NAS])

This overshadowing was a most holy moment!  Lovingly blanketed in the protection of God’s power, Mary would conceive without human help.  The one to be born was conceived in holiness and was uniquely the Son of God.



Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 17, 2012

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Leave a Reply